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Houston Astros come back for win over Tampa Bay Rays in 10

By
Greg Auman, The Sports Xchange
The Astros moved to 13-6 after a 10-inning victory over the Rays on Sunday. Photo courtesy Houston Astros via Twitter.
The Astros moved to 13-6 after a 10-inning victory over the Rays on Sunday. Photo courtesy Houston Astros via Twitter.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- The Houston Astros haven't had to face much adversity in the first three weeks of the season, but wins like Sunday's can make up for that later in the season.

Trailing in the ninth inning, the Astros rallied to force extra innings and got RBI singles from Brian McCann and Yuli Gurriel in the 10th inning to beat the Tampa Bay Rays 6-4 on Sunday at Tropicana Field.

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Houston (13-6) trailed 4-0 after the first inning but scratched its way back to force extra innings.

"Such a tremendous character win for this team," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said after his team took two of three games from the Rays. "So proud of this team to be able to stay in there. Four runs is tough to come back (from) ... falling behind like we did and being able to rally at the end."

Facing recent call-up Ryan Garton (0-1) in his season debut in the 10th, Houston got a leadoff walk from Carlos Beltran, a bloop single from Jose Altuve and RBI singles from McCann and Gurriel.

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The Astros held the Rays (10-10) to two hits in the final nine innings, with Luke Gregerson (1-1) pitching a scoreless ninth for the win and closer Ken Giles pitching the 10th for his fifth save of the season.

The Rays took a 4-3 lead into the ninth, but closer Alex Colome couldn't pull off the six-out save.

Gurriel led off the ninth with a single, advanced on a groundout and passed ball and scored an unearned run on a sacrifice fly by pinch hitter Evan Gattis to tie the score.

With a bullpen depleted by injuries, Tampa Bay tried to get two innings out of Colome, seeking his second save in less than 24 hours. The Rays have four relievers on the disabled list, so their options were limited, including two pitchers called up from the minors this weekend.

"They're in the middle of the order for (a reason)," Hinch said of his key hitters who came through in the 10th. "We have a good lineup, and sometimes, a good lineup means you're expected to do something positive every single time. It's not the case -- you have to hang in there and compete in your at-bats."

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The Rays had the winning run at second base with one out in the ninth -- Tim Beckham's single was their first hit since the first inning -- but couldn't move him over against reliever Luke Gregerson.

Tampa Bay got help from three double plays, erasing leadoff hitters in the fourth, sixth and eighth.

Rays starter Matt Andriese lasted only five innings after being spotted a four-run lead in the first inning.

"I didn't have my great command today -- still battled through it," Andriese said. "I still felt like I had more left in the tank, that's for sure."

The Rays jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first, which began with Corey Dickerson striking out but taking first on a wild pitch. The Rays then rallied for five straight hits with two outs -- Brad Miller tripled to score Dickerson, and Steven Souza followed with a two-run homer off the foul pole in left field for a 3-0 lead.

Shane Peterson and Rickie Weeks singled, then Jesus Sucre added an RBI single for the 4-0 lead.

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Andriese has struggled with home runs -- he had allowed 18 since the All-Star break last year coming in -- and gave up a two-run homer to Carlos Correa (his second) in the third, then a solo shot to Altuve, who homered for the second day in a row after getting none in Houston's first 17 games.

"I got a four-run cushion, so that's the only thing on my mind," Andriese said. "I didn't have my pinpoint command today but still was out there battling. Just in general, it wasn't like I was off. I'd get two quick outs and stop attacking from there."

Astros starter Joe Musgrove struggled in the first inning but then settled down, not allowing a hit from the second to the sixth. Brad Peacock pitched two scoreless innings of relief to keep it a one-run game.

Both teams started the game without their center fielders -- the Rays played without Kevin Kiermaier, who left each of the two previous games with a lingering illness, and the Astros played without George Springer, who left Saturday's game with discomfort in a hamstring.

Houston then lost Springer's replacement when Jake Marisnick crashed into the outfield wall making a catch in the first inning. He batted in the second but left the game as a precaution due to concussion symptoms.

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Josh Reddick shifted to center, Nori Aoki moved to right and Marwin Gonzalez came in as the left fielder. Kiermaier entered the game in the eighth as a defensive replacement in center and popped out in the ninth.

The Rays closed a six-game homestand and now play eight games on the road in nine days, starting with three in Baltimore. Houston stays on the road with a three-game series at Cleveland starting Tuesday.

NOTES: The Rays put RHP Tommy Hunter on the disabled list before Sunday's game with a right calf strain -- he left Saturday's game after he pulled up trying to cover first on a ground ball. He is the 11th player on the DL for the Rays, the highest total in the majors. RHP Chih-Wei Hu was recalled from Triple-A Durham, where he had been slated to start Sunday. He is the first Taiwan-born player in Rays history. ... The victory gave the Astros their first series win at Tropicana Field since 2008. Houston went 3-3 against Tampa Bay last season.

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